Lineup at the Non-existent Birdfeeder and Breakfast Bar

The first seconds after I waken from a deep sleep are always fuzzy, so Friday morning when the birdfeeder that hung a few inches outside my bedroom window began to rattle and zing, I muttered into my pillow about energetic Jays and their pre-dawn appetites. Not that I said anything quite that polite. It was more like, “Those blasted Jays!”

When the rattling became a bang and a clunk, however, I got up to peer through the blinds at the offender. Offenders. There were three of them. Definitely bigger than Jays.

“Barely” visible in the predawn light.

Our place is surrounded by woods, and bears amble through our yard at least once every summer. We don’t have fruit trees or garden produce of much interest, so they’ve never lingered or caused us a problem. Well… only once was I startled to look out my office window straight into the face of a bear who was searching for a wooden birdfeeder we’d taken down earlier that day. It was empty and had been tucked behind some flower pots on the deck, right underneath the window. At the sight of each other we both fled in opposite directions, me away from what seemed like the cellophane-thin pane of glass between us, and him off the deck.

Banished to make do with the gleanings.

We know they like bird seed — they consider it gourmet granola — so at the first bear sighting each spring we always put the feeders away until the next winter. This time the bears found the feeder first. When they couldn’t flip the seeds out of it fast enough, they yanked it and the hanger with its screws right out of the wall, dumped it out and then climbed down off the deck to lick up the spillage.

I’ve never heard bears snarl before, but apparently the hungriest, or the alpha male (or female) wasn’t inclined to share, so a brief argument ensued. One loser scrambled away into the bush, and the second snuffled random seeds from around the perimeter while the third scarfed up the main meal — what would have been almost four litres of seed since the feeder had been filled just the evening before.

Chowing down underneath our bedroom window.

There was no opportunity to wean the birds from their heretofore bottomless breakfast bar, so over the weekend there has been a steady procession of them. They peck at the few remainders scattered on the railing and in the gravel below, or sit on the railing and peer with confusion at where the feeder use to be.

Hey! Where’s the birdfeeder gone?
I’ve found some dregs down here in the dirt.
Where? What’s it doing down there?
You’ve got to be kidding! There isn’t enough here to keep me going until dawn.
Pretty slim pickings! And you thought I was to blame for this?

The hummingbirds are the only winners. They have zipped past the mournful lineups to slurp nectar in greedy disregard for the other birds who will eventually find their way around the neighbourhood in search of a better-stocked seedy buffet.

What’s everyone complaining about? Mine’s still here. Yum!!

There is no writing application to this tale. It’s a bit of birdie chitchat intended only to describe why I went through my weekend doing very little writing but a lot of bird watching. I’ve been keeping an eye out for returning bears, too.

Then there was Sunday. It ended with the stunning and totally unexpected arrival of a 1930 Ford Model A in our garage. But that’s a story for another post.


So how was YOUR weekend? Did you do anything special — maybe get to sleep in? If you did, I don’t want to hear about it! 😉

~  ~  ~


Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

12 thoughts on “Lineup at the Non-existent Birdfeeder and Breakfast Bar

  1. I’m sorry, but I see a writing analogy here, too. I love the dialogue with the body languages pictured! Can you see the expressions and body language of your characters as you write their dialogue?

    1. Joylene, the birdfeeder won’t be put back until next winter. I don’t need anything around to entice that “other company” back unnecessarily.

      1. I took ours down because it attracted ants, but I think your reason is even better. Happy Summer, Carol. Here’s hoping we get one soon.

  2. Carol, although I come from an urban jungle, I have often marveled at the wonder of nature and how she adapts to each topography. In NYC falcons nest in church steeples and sweep along the waters of our rivers, the gray own sits regally on the branches of ancient tulip trees and the hawking, nagging Jays scare off our tiny city “starlings” and have other territorial issues with the rest of the birds. I loved this post and as always you photographs.

    This w/e I enjoyed our community pool and said a farewell to our abreviated winter/spring weather … but I must say that Allegator Alley and dolphins in Biscayne Bay are a pure delight when I can get out to enjoy them 🙂

    1. Florence, we’re in the rural suburbs of Vancouver, but I’m always surprised at the amount of wildlife and birds that are also found within the city. I suppose green spaces like parks help provide inner city access and habitat for them.

  3. Carol, I loved the captions to your pictures. A few years ago we had over a dozen species of birds at our feeder on a single day. (Of course I wrote about it!) This years we’ve only had a few kinds. I don’t know if we got the feeder up too late and missed passing flocks or if the weird weather changed their migrations. I love your photos too — writing at it’s most vivid. (A picture is worth 1,000 words.) What camera do you use.
    I had a very busy weekend, as usual. Monday is usually “crash” day.

    1. We had a couple new species come through here this spring, Tori — not new to the general area, but new to us. I don’t know what governs their migration routes, but it’s neat to see different ones. (My camera is a Sony Cyber-shot HX100V with 16.2 megapixels and 30x zoom.)

  4. Oh.My.Goodness. THREE bears?? I don’t blame you for banishing the birdfeeder. This is a great, fun post Carol. Thanks. Hope you home invaders are gone and never return.

    1. Thanks, Diana. I don’t doubt we’ll continue to see bears here occasionally, but without food to attract their attention, they’ll just pass through to ‘greener pastures’.

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